Donovan Drake, Pastor and Head of Staff
Donovan was born in Waukegan, IL, and grew up in Orange City, IA, and Vincennes, IN. A graduate of Northwestern College in Orange City, Donovan also holds a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ, and a D.Min. from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He has served churches in Morganton, NC, and Durham, NC. His primary areas of interest and experience in ministry include preaching, teaching and pastoral care. Donovan is married to Beth Beran Drake, the only other Presbyterian that he found on the campus of Northwestern College. The Drakes have two children Michael who is working in Nashville and McKenzie who is attending Rhodes College in Memphis. In his spare time Donovan enjoys playing golf, racquetball, bike riding, reading and spending time with his family. | Contact Donovan
Heidi Hudnut-Beumler, Interim Associate Pastor for Congregational Care
Growing up in a suburb of Minneapolis, Heidi is a graduate of Brown University and Union Theological Seminary (New York). She has served three large, multi-staff churches much like Westminster: in New York City (associate), northern New Jersey and Indianapolis (both interim associates); one mid-size church in central New Jersey (associate); and a solo pastorate in Nashville. In addition, she brings training and experience in hospital chaplaincy and interim ministry. Heidi is excited about this opportunity to continue the strong ministries shepherded by the recently retired Rev. Carson Salyer, and to be a part of Westminster's dynamic staff team and vibrant congregation.
Rev. Hudnut-Beumler (pronounced "Boym-ler) is married to the Rev. Dr. James Hudnut-Beumler, Vanderbilt Divinity School professor of American Religious Studies and former dean. They have two children, Julia, who is in her fourth year of medical school at Vanderbilt and Adam, a senior at Princeton. Heidi is eager to get up to speed quickly and be aware needs for congregational care, so please take a moment to introduce yourself in the coming weeks, and share needs as they arise. For together, as Paul has written, we bear each other's burdens and rejoice in each other's joys as the body of Christ. Contact Heidi.
Guy D. Griffith, Associate Pastor for Adult Education and Spiritual Nurture
Guy Griffith is of Welsh ancestry and was raised in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. An avid reader, Guy is nurtured by art, the theatre and nature. He enjoys studying and writing poetry, the occasional round of golf, and cheering on Manchester United and Barcelona soccer teams. He holds a D.Min. from Columbia Theological Seminary (Christian Spirituality); a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary (Homiletics and Missiology); and a B.A. from the American University, School of International Service (International Relations with a minor in philosophy/religion). Prior to joining Westminster's staff, Guy served churches in Alpharetta and Dalton, Georgia, Libertyville, Illinois, and Charlotte, North Carolina. He is married to Amy, a native of Greeneville, Tennessee, who holds degrees from UT Knoxville and a Master's degree in Health Care Administration from Trinity University. They are the proud parents of high-school twins, Benjamin and Leah, and keep up with two big fluffy dogs, Romeo and Teddy. | Contact Guy
Rachel Pence, Associate Pastor for Young Adults and Young Families
Rachel Pence was born in Jacksonville, Florida and grew up in the Presbyterian church. She received a B.A. in Religion and Philosophy from
Queens University and served in Camp and Conference ministry for four years and did a stint as a chaplain in Yellowstone National Park. She earned her Masters of Divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary, in San Anselmo, California and served as a hospital chaplain at Travis Airforce Base in Vacaville, California. Throughout seminary she worked with Asheville Youth Mission, engaging with youth and young adults in a variety of mission opportunities. Following seminary, she worked as a hospital chaplain and found deep roots in pastoral ministry. Rachel is passionate about young adults in the church and is excited about creating ministry opportunities for this community. In her free time, Rachel enjoys hiking, climbing, and any chance to be outdoors. She is excited about exploring Nashville and finding as many hot chicken places as possible. | Contact Rachel.
Sophie Maness, Director of Christian Education
Sophie Maness was born in Richmond, Virginia and grew up in the Presbyterian Church. She received her BA in psychology from Randolph- Macon College and her MA from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond. As a certified Christian Educator, Sophie has enjoyed working with children and parents for over twenty years. Her husband Roger has recently retired from thirty-nine years of service to the Presbyterian Church. Her twins, Jerry and Sophie Ann, have recently graduated from college. Sophie and Roger both like to hike, play and entertain friends and family. | Contact Sophie
John Semingson, Director of Music Ministries
John Semingson is the Director of Music Ministries for Westminster Presbyterian Church, where he oversees a multi-faceted music program, involving nearly two hundred (200) children, youth and adults. Prior to this, John served as Minister of Music and Organist at the Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in Asheville, North Carolina; Director of the University of North Carolina-Asheville Community Chorus; the Carolina Chamber Singers; and was Centennial Summer Director and Organist for the Montreat Conference Center. Since his childhood days in the Illinois Boy Choir, John has performed as a singer, organist and/or conductor in this country, Europe, China and Japan. John has a great love for liturgy and music, but especially for the integration of music as proclamation, prayer and praise within the various offices of worship. A native of Illinois, John has studied at Southern Illinois University, Westminster Choir College (where he was the winner of the Alexander McCurdy Organ Competition and a Clark Foundation Scholar), Scarritt Graduate School (Presidential Scholar) and Northwestern University. He received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Alabama in August 2002. | Contact John
Polly Brecht, Organist
Polly is the Organist and Music Associate at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Nashville and staff accompanist at the Blair School of Music. She holds degrees in piano and organ performance as well as the Performer's Certificate from Indiana University, and a Doctorate in organ performance and a certificate in harpsichord from Florida State University. She does extensive performing, was Associate Professor of organ, harpsichord and theory at Middle Tennessee State University and is a faculty member at the Blair School.
| Contact Polly
Claire is the Director of Youth and Their Families. She grew up in Oak Ridge, TN and moved to Nashville to attend college at Vanderbilt University. Claire completed a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School and a Master of Social Work from the University of Tennessee in 2012. After serving as an assistant to the children's ministry at Westminster she became one of the Youth Directors in 2009. Claire now oversees the youth ministry and assists Heidi with Congregational Care. Claire loves attending the wonderful music concerts in the area, trying all the fabulous Nashville restaurants, and running (so that she can enjoy all the food at those fabulous local restaurants). | Contact Claire
Whitney Booth, Associate Director of Youth
Whitney is the Associate Director of Youth and hails from Apple Valley, Georgia ” a lovely place which was, oddly enough, once covered in peach orchards. She has been in Nashville since 2004, when she moved here to attend Vanderbilt University. After a year as a Young Adult Volunteer in Seattle, she returned to Music City to attend Vanderbilt Divinity School and is exceedingly pleased with the post-graduate Nashville life. Whitney loves to write, sit on porches, and travel as much as possible. If you're looking for someone to talk to about TV, sandwiches, or changing outfits on-the-go, Whitney's door is always open. | Contact Whitney
T. J. Piccolo, Associate Director of Youth
T.J. Piccolo claims magnificent Michigan as his home state. After four years in the Windy City, he received his B.A. in Playwriting from Columbia College Chicago in 2012. T.J. then served two years as a Young Adult Volunteer. One year in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and one year in Nashville, where he spent his time at Room In The Inn, as well as with the youth of Westminster. After a lovely stint in Port Huron—the hotspot of Michigan's “thumb”—as a Youth Leader for FPC Port Huron, T.J. excitedly returned to Westminster and Nashville. In his free time, T.J. enjoys writing, running, reading Irish folklore, eating Burger Up, and secretly living inside the Charlotte location of Hattie B's. | Contact T.J.
Paul Webb, Church Administrator
Paul is a native of Crossville, Tennessee. Except for his service in the Air Force, he has lived all of his life in Middle Tennessee. A graduate of Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, Paul is a CPA with experience in public, corporate, government, and not-for-profit accounting and business administration. Paul is married and has three sons Austin (Devin and granddaughters Olivia and Flynn), Jason, and Adam. His wife Pat is a practicing CPA in Brentwood. The Webbs make their home in Brentwood. Paul and Pat have served as elders at their church. The family enjoys gardening and community projects. Paul is also quite active in his community: He the former Mayor of Brentwood, past chair of the Brentwood Library Board, has coached little league baseball, Y-soccer, served as Cubmaster, PTO President and Civitan treasurer. Paul is currently serving on the Brentwood Green Space board, Buffalo Valley Regional Library Board and has been elected to the Williamson County Commission.
| Contact Paul
Katherine brings an impressive background of experience and education to WSYC. She holds a Masters of Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy Studies from Vanderbilt University.
Katherine has dedicated her career to education. For the past nine years, she has worked at Peabody College at Vanderbilt, where she has served most recently as the Assistant Director and Senior Research Associate at the National Center for Scaling Up Effective School.
She has taught in Tennessee and Connecticut, and worked on educational reform and technical assistance projects based in Washington, DC.
Katherine has been a member of the governing boards of Hillwood Playcare and the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute. She is fluent in Spanish and is familiar with French and Portuguese. Katherine lives in Nashville with her husband, Anthony, and their sons, Alexander and Christopher. | Contact Katherine
Sally Mae Arnn
Assistant to the Pastor
Church Nursery Director
Youth Project Coordinator
WSYC Office Manager
|Sunday School||9:45 AM|